Skull Session: Glen Mason Alternate History, Chase Young is the Nation's Best Defensive Lineman, and Returning Defensive Production

By Kevin Harrish on July 3, 2019 at 4:59 am
Shaun Wade leads the team into today's Skull Session.

I hope y'all like #Booms. And I'm not just talking Fourth of July...


Word of the Day: Moonstruck.

 WHAT IF... As we know, Ohio State made the best possible head coaching hire back in 2001 when they gave the Buckeye throne to a small man with graying hair and a sweater vest.

But there was certainly a chance they botched it all and hired Glen Mason instead, and my good pal Tom Orr took of The Ozone took on the task of explaining that alternate history.

Basically, Orr doesn't think Mason would last long and would get canned after a few seasons, which brings us to this hilarious end:

Luckily for the Buckeyes, there is a perfect candidate very close to home. He has taken his program from a 3-8 first season to 9, 8, and 8-win seasons, and then put together an 11-1 Sugar Bowl championship campaign in 2005.

Unlike Mason and his dull, pro-style offense, this coach is an innovator with an exciting spread-based attack that promises to modernize the Buckeyes.

And on January 12, 2006, the Buckeyes introduce West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez as their new head coach.


Who takes over at Michigan after 2007 if Rodriguez is in Columbus? Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly, Rutgers’ Greg Schiano, and Cal’s Jeff Tedford were among the other candidates. That means we very plausibly could have had a world where Jim Tressel coached Notre Dame, Rich Rod coached the Buckeyes, and Brian Kelly coached Michigan. Try not to hug Andy Geiger too tightly the next time you see him.

Terrelle Pryor running a Rich Rodriguez offense would have been pretty exciting. Although, given the coaching carousel laid out above, maybe Pryor ends up in South Bend instead.


I'll tell you what, the "what if we were bad with a bad coach instead?" alternate history is a hell of a lot more interesting and fun given how things actually turned out than the "what could have been?" alternate history Michigan has been doing for about two decades.

Also, there's a bit of hilarity in that one of Ohio State's worst-case scenarios involves hiring a coach Michigan actually hired on purpose. Plus, there's always a chance God just never intended Michigan to have nice things and Ohio State would have rolled the Wolverines for a decade with Rich Rod at the helm as well.

I mean, we're looking at a world where Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller could be running that offense. Are we sure that's is worst-case scenario? If it is, that should push Michigan fans even closer to the ledge than before.

 NATION'S BEST. I greet you this morning with news that a sportswriter earnestly believes that Chase Young is very good at football. Shocking, I know.

Paul Myerberg of USA Today ranked the top-10 defensive linemen in football, and it's Young's turn to be the Buckeye at the top of the list.

1. Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

Young will be the next Ohio State lineman to earn national accolades. If somewhat overshadowed across his first two seasons by former teammate Nick Bosa, Young represents the total package at end — he's big, strong, explosive when rushing the passer, stout in run support and athletic enough to do whatever is asked from Ohio State's defensive scheme. He's a lock for every preseason All-America list.

Every day it gets a little more hilarious to me that Ohio State is replacing the best defensive player in college football with the new best defensive player in college football. And based on who's behind him, there's a chance that happens next year too.

And the next year (Zach Harrison). And the next year (Jack Sawyer).

 THEY'RE BACK. The bad news is, Ohio State's defense was historically rough last season. The good news is, everyone who played on that side of the ball will be back this season!

Phil Steele acts like this is absolutely good thing – though in this case, it probably is – but the thing is, there's usually a reason why a dominant program like Ohio State wouldn't have serious roster turnover, and it ain't good.

Basically, if you aren't having players leave early at a program like Ohio State, it's probably because they weren't good enough to leave early. And that's a problem.

In this specific case case though, it's probably not all bad.

Most folks believe the biggest issue with the team was scheme and not players, and the team's two leading tacklers – Jordan Fuller and Malik Harrison – both could have moved on to the NFL, but chose not to.

 WE'RE SLIPPING! Ohio State's athletic program has been second to none the past few years, consistently winning Nattys in sports like men's volleyball, rowing, pistol and wrestling.

But as a whole, the Buckeyes slipped a bit this year (and the year before) and find themselves with the fifth-best in terms of overall athletic success this season.

From Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports:

The annual Power Five conference athletic department rankings are here. To recap the scoring: This is a five-year average of the national Learfield Cup rankings for all 64 teams in the Power Five conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, Southeastern), plus Notre Dame. So the applicable data comes from the 2014-15 academic year through 2018-19.


5. Ohio State
Best sport: wrestling. Trajectory: down. The Buckeyes set the bar quite high with consecutive second-place finishes to juggernaut Stanford in 2015-16 and ’16-17; since then they have slipped to seventh last year and 12th this year. Only Stanford scored more points in winter sports than Ohio State, which got a national runner-up finish in wrestling and five other Top 10 teams in the winter. alone On the downside: men’s volleyball, which won national titles in 2016 and ’17, had a losing record in ’19. After six straight years with at least one national championship from 2012-17, the Buckeyes have now gone consecutive years with none.

That's undeniably bad news. But the good news is, it's still higher than Michigan.

 DRUE BEING DRUE. Folks, Drue Chrisman is at it again.


A challenge that involves a bottle and kicking? I just couldnt resist #BottleCapChallenge

A post shared by Drue Chrisman (@dchrisman91) on

I uh, don't think that's following the challenge to a T, but hell, it's the offseason. I'll take what I can get.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Swimming pools are full of poop, but they probably won't make you sick... Scientists are giving dead brains new life... A dive beneath the pyramids of Egypt’s forgotten black pharaohs... An 11-year neighborhood feud involving spells, restraining orders and jail time... Internet shutdowns are just another weapon in a dictator's arsenal... A child of Chernobyl...

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